Stress Can Make Your Face Semi-Paralysed (Photo Credit: Instagram)
A silent killer that is physically, mentally and emotionally draining, stress has become a plight of the modern world that seems to be latching on specially to people of the younger generation. In 2019, the stress data recorded an alarming 94% of American workers experiencing stress at their workplace alone i.e. not including the other key takeaway of stress such as financial issues, job insecurity, insecurity among many, many others. The data only seems to rise with each year specially among people in their 25-35 who look-away the conditions despite record showing that one-third of those who have visited a doctor is stress-related.
To speak up on this silent killer that is slowly overshadowing the younger generation, a woman has come forward to warn of the dire dangers that can lay ahead if overlooked. Danielle Ferguson, 29, from California, USA woke up one day with a half-paralysed face who was later told by doctors that ‘’the condition was down to stress and there was nothing she could do. Danielle had for long ignored symptoms such as cold-like symptoms, feeling fatigue, lethargic with no fever, body chills or cough. Her tongue started to feel numb and her jaw was in a lot of pain - like someone had punched her.
The next morning, in August 2019, she woke up to find the entire right side of her face paralysed. On rushing to the emergency room, the doctor diagnosed her with Bell's palsy, a rare medical condition that causes sudden, temporary weakness in your facial muscles and even paralysis, such as is the case with Danielle’s.
The doctor prescribed her with an oral steroid and antivirals and attributed the condition of her paralysis to stress. In an attempt to heal herself, she tried different alternative treatments like IV therapy, acupuncture, hyperbaric oxygen therapy and craniosacral massage and is now on a mission to spread awareness on the condition by starting off with her 12,000 followers on Instagram.
"The week prior to my diagnosis I had felt like I was coming down with a cold. Then that Saturday I started to feel the symptoms coming on, but I didn't know what it was at the time’’, Danielle explains.
"My tongue felt numb and my jaw hurt really badly; almost like someone had punched me or I was grinding my teeth all night long. Plus my smile was a bit off but nothing super noticeable."
Danielle was told that the condition could have been caused by stress and that she would eventually regain the strength in her muscles.
She continued: "There was a lot going on, but I thought that was normal. I didn't feel like I was overly stressed. However, looking back what I didn't realise was everything I was doing or trying to do was based on my thinking I had to work hard in order to be worthy.
"That head space I was in had to be corrected and I think me getting Bell's palsy was my body's way of telling me that. I am still recovering, however - in the beginning, I really tried everything I could and while the doctors told me there was really nothing I could do, I frankly didn't believe that.
"I create space every morning for myself to do my daily devotional and pray which I believe is what has kept me strong throughout this process."
Danielle went on: "I am feeling better and starting to see movement come back into my face. However, I thought about this the other day and even if my movement never came back, it wouldn't stop me from doing what I want to do with my life.
"I want to help others be health advocates for themselves and take back control of their own health and if that is inspiration then, yes, I want to inspire others to do this.
"I do this by simply being myself, showing up on IG and in life to pour my heart and soul into what I believe. I am Dani, my heart is my own and there's nothing that can change that.
"I realise that self-love is how I nurture and take care of my heart and my soul. It's not about how good I look or what my face looks like, it's the confidence and love I have for myself inside that counts.
"Listen to your body. It will tell you what you need to heal, whether that is physical, emotional, spiritual, or mental. Trust yourself and be honest with yourself.
"Also, give yourself grace and allow your body to rest when it needs to. Your worthiness is not based on how hard you work, how much you check off your to-do list or how perfect your house looks. You are already so worthy and so loved, just as you are."